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Posts tagged: Downriggers

Downrigger Diversity Improves Your Success

Downrigger Diversity Improves Your Success

By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt
Let’s continue with downriggers. In the last article we covered the hardware, weights, releases and manual or electric models. Now we will go into using this tool in many ways. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at

The basic presentation

The basic presentation is to set the lead by allowing the lure to trail behind the boat as the boat goes anywhere from 1 to 3.5 miles per hour. The distance the lure is run behind the weight of the downrigger will change depending on a large and ever changing set of conditions.

Length will change

At or before first light of the day, and again after sunset a short lead of 20 feet is the most effective. The commotion of many lures running side by side will draw fish to the boat. As the sun comes up and the bite slows down, you should consider increasing the distance from the weight to the lure.

Environmental Issues VS Lead Length

Zebra and Quagga mussels have taken much of the color out of the water on and a long lead is required for spooky fish on sunny calm days. This is very important when you are working the top forty feet of water. The short lead is also very good when fishing deeper than 75 feet down. There are lures that must be run shorter than 20 feet to work. Rotators, flashers and dodgers like to run 12 to 15 feet behind the weight.

SWR or ?

SWR is another presentation to run on a downrigger. SWR or secret weapon rig is a rod with two or three colors of leadcore line. The advantage to this set up is it runs below the weight to offer a lure in an environment 100 feet behind the boat.
Down & Outs

For many years some fisherman have been using down and outs. This is a small diving disc adjusted to run to the left or right of the boats path to provoke a hit. Set up the disc as you would for working it on a solo line and attach it 20 feet behind the weight.

Sliders Explained

In addition to the standard rigging, sliders are a popular method of getting more lines in the water. After the main line is set to any depth a six foot piece of monofilament with a lure on one end and a snap on the other is attached to the main line and allowed to slide down to about midway from the surface and the bottom lure.

Stacking Lines

With a downrigger you can also run a stack line to offer more lures at more potential depths. The way this is rigged is to set your main line as usual lower it to 15 feet and add another line by means of an additional release. My experience with this has been outstanding. Two lures together are very effective when working deep lines. I like a dodger or flasher 10 feet behind the weight on the bottom line and a spoon 30 feet back on the top stack line.
Use your imagination, The variations of downrigger presentation are end less.

Buy Four And Get One Free

Badger Tackle has a promotion for a free spoon. Call me anytime to help with your spoon selection. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout for shore anglers or trolling and jigging in 2011 go to Good luck. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at Copyright© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

Ultimate Salmon Boat Part #2

Ultimate Salmon Boat Part #2

By Lake Michigan Fishing Charter Capt. Jim Hirt
In part number one we discussed basic tackle for boat, rods and safety. Let’s continue with essential and in most cases must have items for an productive salmon and trout fishing boat. Read all my articles and fish reports at

Line counter trolling reels are important to precision and don’t cost much more than reels without line counters. Look for a quality based on the amount of times you expect to use them each season. A basic bushing or one ball bearing reel is affordable and will last a long time with good maintenance. A $50 reel that will hold 300 yards of 20 pound test has the capacity for a half core of lead and all of the mono or fluorocarbon set ups you may want to try down the road. Penn fishing tackle makes some great quality entry level and top end reels and rods that are a value for all anglers

Fishing Line
Spool up with 20 lb Berkley Trilene XT ($7) monofilament. A slightly more expensive but worth it option is to try the advantages of fluorocarbon line. The low stretch near invisible Berkley Vanish ($15) will put more fish in the cooler.

Types of presentations are endless and the budget minded fisherman couldn’t include all the options. The key here is where are the fish. You must be able to fish at all depths. Plan “A” would be two manual downriggers at about $130 each with an 8 pound weight included. The Great Lakes spawned the use of downriggers and they are very simple and effective at all depths. This is one of the most basic of presentations. The use of this tool is limited only by your imagination.

Terminal tackle
I have tried most of the different styles of downrigger releases. I like the Blacks release ($10) with the clip to attach the weight. The Blacks releases are completely adjustable to set the hook when the fish bites and never tangle or wear the line. A sturdy net ($40) that will handle fish to 40 inches will be needed.

Electronics will be important to safety and success. I would not go out on any of the Great Lakes without a marine radio. Expect to spend $150 but your safety is worth it. Knowing how deep the water is and where the fish are is critical to safety and your ability to put fish in the cooler. The starting price for a fish locator that works to 600 feet is $120.

Treasure your catch
Always ice your catch a 70 quart cooler ($25) will lend to the table quality.

This package will offer the opportunity to catch reel screaming Chinooks, dancing Rainbows, huge Brown Trout, tasty Coho and rod bending Lakers. At a modest price compared to other sports of $825. Split the cost with a buddy and have a blast!! Check out my blog for detailed instructions on set up and presentation of tackle and up to date video fish reports. Have a great fishing season. Captain Jim. Let’s go fishing!! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at Copyright© 2011, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.

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